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Michel realises long-held ambition

Kyle Michel has done it, the teenage golfer has aspired to win the Shepparton Open for some time and on Saturday he achieved his dream.

GREGOR MACTAGGART August 19, 2014 3:15am

Melbourne golfer Tyler Fent eyes down his booming drive at the Shepparton Open.


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Rising golf star Kyle Michel ticked a major item off his bucket list with victory in this year’s Shepparton Open.

The talented 18-year-old produced a sublime display on Saturday to seal the premier men’s event at his home club by a commanding six-shot margin.

‘‘Winning my home open is very special, I’m over the moon,’’ Michel said.

‘‘Getting my name on that trophy has been a goal of mine since I first started playing in the event a few years ago and to finally do that is pretty exciting.’’

Michel lived up to pre-tournament predictions that he would be a serious title contender with a one-under par 143 across the 36-hole event.

The young gun set the tone with a 73 in his opening 18 holes on Saturday morning before a fine 70 in the afternoon session sealed an emphatic success.

‘‘I didn’t play very well in my morning round, but I holed a lot of putts to put me a shot in front at halfway,’’ Michel said.

‘‘I knew I had room for improvement and that (defending champion) James Zappelli was second, only one shot behind me.’’

But the Cobram golfer faded from contention, and with a collection of visiting players including Tyler Fent unable to make in-roads on his lead, Michel was thriving in pole position.

‘‘Once I managed to get to two under for the round, I knew I was going to be hard to beat,’’ he said.

And so it proved as he made par on 18 to prevail, with Fent (Commonwealth), Lachlan Whiteside (Woodside) and Matthew Wood (Kooringal, NSW) in a tie for second on five-over 149.

‘‘The last hole was a solid par for me, I left myself a 15-foot birdie putt and then a one-foot tap in to finish,’’ he said.

‘‘There was relief that I had finally won one, but it also felt fantastic.’’

Michel joins such names as Jarrod Lyle, Marcus Fraser and David Diaz on the trophy, all of who have gone onto enjoy professional careers after winning the open.

The Notre Dame student may well tread that path in future, but not before he finishes his Year 12 studies.

‘‘I’m looking to have a gap year after I finish school,’’ he said.

‘‘I’d love to have a crack at college golf over in America, that is a real interest of mine.’’

A field of 137 players teed it up in this year’s open.

The A-grade nett title went to Craig Cameron on a countback from Caleb Bovalina after the two single markers finished on 143.

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